Harry Potter, Earl Grey and ASOS…

Books & Literature

Last Saturday I went to the end-of-filming wrap party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was most definitely the best day of the year. It was better than my last exam day.  I met many people, and I don’t know all their actor names, so I will just say their Harry Potter names: Harry Potter, Hermione, Neville, Malfoy, Filch, Snape, a Weasley twin and Mr Weasley. It was just ridiculously exciting, and in fact, I was so excited all day that when I got home I was really very tired, and my tummy hurt from all the butterflies.  Also, Athlete the band were playing, and Jarvis Cocker was DJing. We had free champagne, food, and we could touch all the props because they were just THERE!! I TOUCHED THE MIRROR OF ERISED!!!! Oh wow! A good day.

I’ve started drinking Earl Grey tea.

I entered a competition last month on ASOS, and I didn’t win, but I’m not too sad because the other ones were really good. The title was ‘My Favourite Fashion Discovery’, and so this is what I wrote.  If you’re a busy bumble then just move along, but I thought I’d just give you the option of reading it. If you have any prizes you think I deserve, I’d be happy to win them.

My Favourite Fashion Discovery: The Return of the English Rose

“The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour, which doth in it live.”
Shakespeare

I’m sitting in the garden, and there is an ant on my cup of tea, which I think is a wonderful symbol of a great English summer.  I don’t understand the rules of Wimbledon, so I spend a lot of time in my garden, watching the pigeons and eating cake.  It seems to me that this pastoral sunshine we’ve been experiencing has also had an effect on the world outside my house, with thousands of floral prints and birdcages twinkling away in every shop, and I have decided that we should take this as a glorious sign to embrace our traditions, and let the beautiful English Rose in all of us bloom again!

When World War II ended in 1945, people of all nationalities began to arrive in England, creating a rich tapestry of diversity and tradition, and making Great Britain one of the most successful and multi-cultural societies in Europe.  Although essential to modern-day England, I sometimes wonder how much of our English legacy still remains: how many of us still know the rules of cricket, or could whip up a batch of scones?  However, now that everybody is doused in Cath Kidston and quilted jackets, I have a wonderful feeling that we might soon see the return of rustic rambles through the hills and cool iced-tea on the lawn, darling.

There is now a pigeon on the bird-feeder, and it has positioned itself so that all I can see are its tail feathers.  This isn’t nice, but I can tell you who is: Florence ‘And-The-Machine’ Welch.   She somehow manages to maintain a kind of floaty, feminine, fiery chic in every outfit she adorns, not to mention her wonderful voice, and I recommend her as a role model to everyone.  Born in London, I conclude that she is the ultimate English Rose, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me on how refreshing it is to see a celebrity that isn’t ‘famous’ for sleeping with a football team or having one fake boob bigger than the other.

One part of the English-country-garden concept is the return of Victorian lace; I think lace is just a perfect touch of elegance to any outfit, and one of the happiest moments of my life with fashion was the day I saw that ASOS had an entire section dedicated to it.  Obviously, one has to be cautious not to look like a net-curtain, but little flourishes of a black lace headband or white tights can make any old dog look like a majestic butterfly.  Team that with paisley prints and delicate florals, place a poppy in your hair, and you have become Alice in Wonderland herself (without the opiate undertones).

Indeed, the pastoral ideas of today’s fashion have also been reflected in modern cinema: Tim Burton’s latest phenomenon Alice in Wonderland created a sensation with Mia Wasikowska’s Alice dressed in a flowing, blue, river-like dress, with naturally tousled hair that really emphasises how looking natural can be so beautiful.  Similarly, the recent remake of Robin Hood shows Maid Marian as a strong, passionate woman, with Cate Blanchett in greens and browns, and long, chestnut hair, a perfect reflection of the beauty of the forests and woodland in which she lives; I’m sure if we followed suit we would all attract merry men of our own!

Now, I’m sure you are puzzling to yourself, how does one dress like an English Rose? I don’t think it is just a case of wrapping yourself in flowers and birds, with ribbons tied onto your ears and a cup of tea on your head.  I think too many people these days dress to impress without it being a reflection of their own personality: it’s endearing to have a nice hole in your tights, as long as you didn’t put it there that morning in a desperate, nail-varnished attempt to look like you’ve been ‘partying hard’ all night.  Personally, I can’t get enough of dresses, especially my favourite pale blue, floral summer-dress from Macy’s, New York, or my ASOS yellow, green and blue floral print dress.  When I’m feeling a bit blue, I like to team up one of my dresses with the red ribbon that was wrapped around the roses that my boyfriend sent me for Valentine’s Day, or the pink ribbon that was wrapped around a birthday cake where I work.  I feel naked without a necklace, and I like to collect little charms and pendants from antique shops and such, like my little silver rabbit charm or my ‘T’ for Tiffany charm.

I think fashion, although a tool for everyone to look the same and ‘on trend’, is in fact a way to tweak and adjust your style to reflect your individuality.  For me, the English Rose is as much as part of our heritage as of every person in the country, and with the increasing awareness of the environment and climate change, it is becoming more glorious than ever.  So come on now lovely girls of England: ditch that generic bodycon, drink some tea, plant some flowers, and become the beautiful English Roses that you really are!

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